Friday, November 9, 2012

How IP Professionals Should Use Social Media to Optimize Industry Events

Friday, November 09, 2012
When it comes to the practice of intellectual property, everyone knows about the vast number of annual trade shows and conferences. Most IP professionals are required to attend at least one of these events per year to drum up new client work and maintain existing client relationships. The actual industry event usually consists of informational sessions, firm receptions and one-on-one meetings with clients and potential clients. Instead of moaning and groaning about how much your feet are going to hurt after running from event to event, I’m here to show you how you can use social media to optimize your event attendance.

Find the Event’s Social Media Accounts 

Prior to the event, find all of the event’s social media accounts online. There will most likely be dedicated Facebook Page, a Twitter account and associated hashtag and perhaps a LinkedIn Event. Follow, Like and RSVP to everything you can and read all the associated material online.

Join the Conversation 

Most IP conferences create a Twitter hashtag so that attendees can discuss the event prior and during the event.

For those of you not familiar with hashtags, here’s Twitter’s definition: The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages.

  • People use the hashtag symbol # before a relevant keyword or phrase (no spaces) in their Tweet to categorize those Tweets and help them show more easily in Twitter Search. 
  • Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all other Tweets marked with that keyword.. Hashtags can occur anywhere in the Tweet – at the beginning, middle, or end. 
  • Hashtagged words that become very popular are often Trending Topics. 

Here’s an example of a tweet that includes a hashtag for an upcoming event that MBM is hosting:

Let People Know You’re Attending 

In the months leading up to the conference, let people know you’ll be attending the conference on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Use the hashtag in your tweets and write status updates on Facebook. Interact with other attendees online and start making plans to meet up during the vent. Most major events have an event called a “tweetup” where everyone that was tweeting about the conference prior to attending meets in person. If you can’t find an official tweetup consider starting one. Most tweetups are informal and can take place at a coffee shop or restaurant.

Take Pictures 

Take lots of pictures during the event and upload them to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. If you’re unfamiliar with how to upload pictures, consider sending the pictures to your administrator and have them do this step for you. Social media is all about building trust and relationships. Pictures put a face to the name.

Facebook Album

Twitter picture

After The Event 

Connect with each person you met on LinkedIn and follow them on Twitter. I find that some people keep their Facebook reserved for personal use so hold off on this step for now. If the connection works for a firm, consider “Liking” the firm’s Facebook page. Email each person you’d like to form a deeper relationship with and add them to your business development database. Remember, social media gives you, the attendee, the chance to build deeper relationships with a larger group of potential clients at industry events.

By Samantha Collier